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Legal aid update: MoJ announces further cuts - Law Society response

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10 June 2015

Society urges government to reconsider fee cuts

The Law Society has reacted with dismay to the government's announcement that it will press ahead with further cuts to legal aid. The changes announced today include:

  • further fee cuts of 8.75 per cent for solicitors representing those accused of wrongdoing
  • number of contracts for solicitors providing 24-hour cover at police stations in local communities reduced to 527 from 1,600, which could leave people without representation

The cut will take effect as a straight reduction of fees paid under the existing fee schemes, for any grant of legal aid after 1 July 2015. The restructuring of the fee schemes that the MoJ previously consulted on will only be introduced with the new duty contracts in January 2016.

Law Society president Andrew Caplen said:

'We are deeply concerned not only for the immediate future of the justice system, but for its continued survival in years to come.

'Twenty years without any increase in fees, followed by two sets of cuts since 2010, had already pushed firms' viability to breaking point. Now many solicitors' practices undertaking this vital work in communities around the country will be forced to close.'

We have written to the lord chancellor to convey our disappointment and to raise our serious concerns, and to urge him to think again.
Read our full press statement
Read our letter to the lord chancellor (PDF 59kb)

Act for the Act campaign

Members may be interested in a new campaign whose organisers have recently contacted us. Act for the Act is looking to run an advertising campaign in support of the Human Rights Act.

The campaign is being run by co-founder of the LALYs Fiona Bawdon and barristers Martha Spurrier and Caoilfhionn Gallagher from Doughty Street Chambers, together with a steering group which also includes Reprieve's Clive Stafford Smith, among others.
Find out more about the campaign

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